Memo­rial Day — re­flect, ask ques­tions

The News-Times - - OPINION -

Memo­rial Day’s ex­u­ber­ant pa­rades and solemn cer­e­monies come this year at a trou­bling time. Some of America’s lead­ers are again saber rat­tling, talk­ing up a pos­si­ble war with Iran, push­ing a ri­val na­tion in ways that could eas­ily lead to the too-fa­mil­iar se­ries of mis­cal­cu­la­tions and counter mis­cal­cu­la­tions — sanc­tions, eco­nomic pres­sure, threats and counter-threats, de­ploy­ments and counter de­ploy­ments.

One mis­take by some­one some­where along the chain of com­mand — in ei­ther of the two na­tions — and sud­denly the gates of Hell are opened wide. Mis­siles are flying. Peo­ple are dy­ing. Moth­ers are cry­ing.

Let Memo­rial Day 2019 give all Amer­i­cans oc­ca­sion to think on the high and bru­tal cost of war, and grav­ity of any de­ci­sion to go to war.

Memo­rial Day hon­ors the sac­ri­fices of fallen Amer­i­cans who bravely an­swered the call of duty when their na­tion was fight­ing bat­tles. Some fought in great wars that pulled the na­tion to­gether. Some in con­tro­ver­sial wars that tore the na­tion apart. Some gave their lives in less-re­mem­bered po­lice ac­tions, and shows of mil­i­tary re­solve. The ser­vice of all is wor­thy of recog­ni­tion, and honor.

On Memo­rial Day graves are dec­o­rated — fam­ily and friends plant flow­ers and re­mem­ber cher­ished faces lost to war’s cruel madness, vet­er­ans set out small flags to honor the last rest­ing places of pa­tri­ots with no one else left to re­mem­ber them.

The flow­ers and the flags are trib­utes from the liv­ing

to the dead — to young men and women who are no longer liv­ing, laugh­ing, smil­ing, singing, fall­ing in love, watch­ing as chil­dren and grand­chil­dren grow and thrive. They gave all that up. Gave up all there is to treasure in life, gave it up for their na­tion. For us.

Each honored grave is a life cut short, spent in war.

What is there to do but think of them, and thank them?

What is there to do but re­mem­ber?

Well, need we only re­mem­ber?

This Memo­rial Day let us — we, the liv­ing, the vot­ing, the email-send­ing — re­mem­ber, and let us also ask ques­tions.

Why is the United States of America again play­ing at regime change in the Mid­dle East? How would our lead­ers get us out of a war, once they’ve got­ten us in? And how is it these al­leged lead­ers can so ca­su­ally dice with other peo­ple’s lives? Are these life-and-death de­ci­sions based on deep re­flec­tion and sound judg­ment?

This Memo­rial Day, let all Amer­i­cans honor the flag, re­mem­ber the courage of the brave and pay thought­ful trib­ute to the sac­ri­fices of the dead.

And af­ter long thought, good ci­ti­zens, let us also raise voices — raise in rau­cous cho­rus the for­got­ten voices of the lost mil­lions, the count­less dead gunned down in the sweet­ness of youth — and try to stop these ar­ro­gant fools be­fore they get more peo­ple killed, and send more pa­tri­otic Amer­i­cans to early graves.

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